THE GRAVEYARD IN BUNRATTY is beautiful and features a notable gravestone, over an empty grave, of Private R.W. Williams.
A Teenage Soldier
Born into a working class family in Birkenhead, he lied about his age to join the British army early. Two years later, in July 1921, he was still only 19 when stationed in Limerick during the War of Independence. He was one of two motorcycle dispatch riders who attempted to cross the bridge at Bunratty. The local IRA unit however had bombed the bridge and although it didn’t collapse there was a crack which the motorcycle hit at speed. Both soldiers fell into the river below but whereas one swam to safety, Williams hit his head on the way down and was unconscious before hitting the water. He was drowned and his body swept away. On the very next day, a truce came into effect between the IRA and British army, making Williams the last British soldier to die in Clare.